A few months back I ran series of columns on at-home lure making. I was pleased with the response the columns got from readers who were excited with the idea of “slinging goop” and making their own molds and pouring customized lures.
Some liked the idea of being able to reproduce favorite baits that are no longer available on the market (except, maybe on on-line bidding sites, but those supplies are sketchy at best). More than a few of you are ready to try your hand at being lure makers.
One reader, Albert R., asked me about what supplies he needed to stock, besides the obvious mold-making materials, plastisol, super-plastic, wire, Superfoams, and so on.
He was concerned about having to constantly run out to the local hardware store for something he lacked. Would I be so kind as to provide a list of tools and equipment that the aspirant lure-maker will need to while away hours in the man cave making a big mess?
Well, if you’re going to create your own backroom lure factory, some of the tools that you WILL need are:
• Dremel Multi-tool w/ accessories. No craft table is even approaching completion without one of these little gems on it. With its myriad attachments, the Dremel can cut metal, sand, drill, buff, sharpen, hone, and countless other functions that you may need to do in the course of making lures.
With the right implement, the Dremel can even cut through the barrel of an uncooperative padlock. When you finally own one, you actually begin to wonder how you managed without it.
• Boggs Tackle Maker. Simply put, this little tool bends wires. If you need to create line ties or loops onto stainless or brass wire, the Boggs is the tool you need. It takes a little practice, but you should learn how to bend wire and make loops like a pro. The loops are perfectly rounded, with little or no tag end, and sit more snugly on the ends of custom plugs. It will also be a more secure loop than anything you can do with a pair of pliers.
• Standard drill w/ various bits and drivers. You would be hard pressed to find a better tool to make a 1/8-inch flat-bottomed hole in balsa or super plastic than a Forsner bit. If you need to drill holes into a mold box to suspend a wire harness, the drill bits in a standard kit are invaluable.
A standard drill also cuts down on time and tedium of driving screws, or withdrawing them. With the help of channel lock pliers, you can even twist a double strand of wire if a job requires it. A drill is a touch of old school that has a home on any work bench.
• Various long-nosed and short pliers. Next to the Dremel, pliers are the most useful tool in the lure-maker’s tackle box. Whether it’s to bend wire, serve as a clamp, or cut wire, pliers are very handy. There are some jobs that a Boggs can’t do that a good pair of round-nosed pliers can.
• Hot Glue Gun. The hot glue comes in very handy when making and sealing mold boxes to prevent the silicone from leaking all over the place prior to curing. When making your master, a dab of hot glue can attach two different parts together just prior to sanding.
• Sand Paper of various grits. Very helpful when smoothing out and shaping blanks, working on the finish of a plug prior to applying varnish or epoxy.
• Surge protector strip. At any given time, you could have a microwave oven, a drill, a battery charger, hot glue gun, and maybe even a hot plate plugged into the wall at the same time. A surge protector offers you more plugs and a stopgap that could prevent a blown fuse (except from your Eternal Beloved, when she sees the mess you’re making).
• Jar of Petroleum Jelly. There are commercial mold release products on the market, but a thin layer of petroleum jelly spread over the surface of a mold is very effective in preventing your plugs from sticking. Spreading a bit before pouring the second half of a two-sided mold will prevent the two sides from fusing together, too (I learned that one the hard way).
• Set of Acrylic Paint Pens. Nothing is so useful in coloring plastic eyes, adding spots and stripes to individual lures, or adding a finishing touch before epoxy coating than acrylic pens. In a pinch, acrylic pens can be very useful.
As you embark on your lure-making adventures, you will probably come up with your own must-haves that you will add to your toolbox. Some will be from pure necessity, others will spawn from moments of experimental inspiration, you never know. That’s the great part of this avocation. You can’t tell where you’ll get your inspiration. All it takes is a little ambition, the right tools, and a whole lot of goop!
Email Cal Gonzales at [email protected]